PORT ORCHARD — Run, run, run as fast as you can to the Port Orchard Public Market, say merchants at the Bay Street establishment. You won’t be able to catch the gingerbread man, but you will be able to enter or vote in the gingerbread house contest starting Dec. 3.
After the success of the recent scarecrow contest, Coreen Haydock, a business owner at the market, said they’re now hosting the first of what they hope will be many future gingerbread contests.
People can enter ($5 per person or family, $10 for businesses and organizations) by filling out an application, available by email from firstname.lastname@example.org or at market businesses.
The next step for participants is to bring their creation down to the market anytime between Dec. 3 and Dec. 20, where they will be displayed throughout December.
Starting on Dec. 10, those interested can vote for a people’s choice prize. On Dec. 23, a panel of judges will pick contest winners in each category, which include age categories, a category for businesses and professional bakers and caterers.
“We’ll probably do trophies and some small prizes, based on how much money we collect that we can use for prizes,” Haydock said.
“We’re just encouraging people to do it as a family or with their kids.”
Haydock said the contest has just a few rules. She said participants should 1) try to make their gingerbread creations with edible materials, and 2) have a family friendly theme.
Other than that, Haydock said, it’s a free-for-all — the creations don’t even need to a house. They can be a firehouse or fire truck, a brewery or just about anything that comes to mind.
“We want people to come in and enjoy it,” she said.
“We hope people will do it for fun and not just for prizes. We really want people to just try their hand at making a gingerbread house, and to bring it down and show it off.”
The gingerbread house contest is part of a series of holiday events the market has planned throughout December.
The Senior Giving Tree campaign is available until Dec. 17, when the South Kitsap Helpline will deliver the resulting gifts with their food baskets.
“We’ve had a fabulous response to that,” Haydock said of previous years. “We’ve gotten hundreds of small gifts for South Kitsap seniors.”
Other holiday events: On Dec. 9 and 13, Santa Claus will visit the market from 1-4 p.m. Kids can come out to decorate cookies for free from 1:30-3:30 p.m., Haydock said.
On Dec. 22-23, “Don’t Panic Weekend” is at the market and downtown Port Orchard, and will include free gift wrapping for downtown shoppers.
Also on Dec. 23, aside from the official judging of the gingerbread contest, Santa Claus will visit again from 1-4 p.m. That same day, there will be an Ugly Christmas Sweater contest.
“People think there’s nothing downtown, (but) there is,” Haydock said.
“There’s lots of restaurants, quite a few shops and boutiques … we’re just trying to help get people to visit downtown and come into the market. We’d like them to shop and eat with us.
“We’re just trying to be in the Christmas spirit.”
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/PortOrchardPublicMarket. The gingerbread contest entry form is available on the market’s Facebook page.